I LOVE salads.
I never thought that I would EVER say that.
Until a little over a year ago, I only ate salads when I was a) forced to eat them or b) had no other option. Now, I can’t imagine going even a day without enjoying a big, beautiful salad. My taste buds are definitely not the same as they were a couple of years ago. It’s funny how we change as we grow older…
Let’s face it though, salads–and veggies in general–get a bad rap. It’s really no wonder though: how many times have you gone out to a restaurant and ordered a side salad only to be disappointed when the waiter arrives with the typical, boring, sad-excuse-for-a-salad consisting of lettuce, tomato, cheese, and bland vinaigrette. There may be some cucumbers, shredded carrots, or croutons tossed in there, but the recipe (if you can call it that) is always the same. Besides, I can’t eat the cheese or the croutons anyway, so I end up having to leave those off. BORING.
However, the truth is, I get some of my best inspirations for the salads I make at home from ones that I’ve eaten at restaurants! In order to get a good (I’m talking interesting and tasty–not boring and bland) salad, you almost always have to order the large entree-sized salads. In fact, I’m pretty sure the waiters think I’m crazy every time I order a meal-sized salad and an entrée to go along with it, but if I’m going out to eat, I’m going all out
This Asian-style Orange and Arugula Salad was inspired by a salad I ate recently at one of my favorite restaurants that won me over on the first bite. The original salad came with chicken, so if you’re a meat-eater, you could easily toss in some sliced chicken breast or boiled shrimp.
My husband (who’s a big-time meat-eater) sampled a bite of this vegetarian version of the salad and proclaimed that it was “really good”–which is a huge compliment considering he usually crinkles his nose and says “yuck” when I ask him to try one of my salad recreations. Because this salad got the rare stamp of approval, I figure it must be a winner! If it were up to me, I would post every salad I’ve ever eaten because I think they’re all (well, almost all) amazing. I’m sure you would get really sick of seeing salads, though. So, since I have to be more selective about what I post, I’ve decided that if it’s husband-tested and approved, then I’ll deem it blog-worthy
- ~~For the salad:
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 2-3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
- ⅓ cup celery, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup carrot, shredded or chopped into thin matchsticks
- ⅓ cup red or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup orange slices, chopped into large chunks
- ½ cup snow peas, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- ~~For the dressing:
- 2-3 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice
- zest from orange peel
- ½ tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
- ⅛-1/4 tsp. powdered stevia (or a couple drops liquid stevia)
- ⅛ tsp. onion powder
- pinch red chili pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. sesame seeds
- For the salad: toss all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
- For the dressing: blend all of the ingredients together in your food processor or mix well by hand.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!